Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cover Reveal for my newest YA

I am SO excited to share this cover reveal for a book that will finally be published in January 2016 by Pauline Books & Media--Treachery and Truth: A Story of Sinners, Servants, and Saints
Here's the blurb from the back cover:

"I, Poidevin, write this so that all may know the true story of my master, the Duke of Bohemia, the most noble Vaclav. Though our enemy is strong, the Most High is stronger still."

Tenth Century Bohemia: The Dark Ages. In the shadows of paganism and an unquenchable thirst for power, the flame of faith and loyalty is threatened. Sinners, servants, and saints make the choices that will ultimately define them in this intriguing tale of deception and truth. This is the true story of "Good King Wenceslas"—the story of Vaclav I, as told by Poidevin, the servant who accompanied him. Treachery and Truth is a historical novel filled with the tension between betrayal and belief, godlessness and goodness, selfishness and service. 

When the book was first accepted I wrote the story of its very long journey to publication in The Little Book That Could.

Now I've got to memorize the lines of this song before I start doing school visits, just in case....

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Author Spotlight: Charissa Dufour

Charissa's cute cats

Today I am interviewing another wonderful author I met in the Clean Indie Reads group, Charissa Dufour. 

Q: Your Amazon bio says you began writing when you were diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the 8th grade and had to drop out of school for a while. Has that resolved? If there any advice you'd like to give other writers dealing with chronic health issues?

Charissa: Great question. I really appreciate that you already read my bio before writing your questions rather than asking me to regurgitate what is already in my bio. When I was diagnosed, CFS was in its infancy. As I look back and compare what I was going through and what they know now about the disease, I doubt they would diagnose me with it again. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It is just labels. I was very sick. Whatever I have, I can relapse. I still have to take care of myself and watch my sleep schedules. Not taking care of myself can result in a relapse. 

As to writing suffering from chronic health issues, I just want to encourage them to not let it beat them. You have an invisible monster on your back that the average artist doesn’t. Your journey is that much harder, and no one knows your true struggles. Battle with all you’ve got, and use your struggle to your advantage. Those battles, the ones you win and the ones you lose, are meat for your art to feed on. Use them to your advantage. 

The advice I give to all writers, regardless of background, is to write what you want to read. Others say write what you know. I don’t really get that. I write about a princess and space ships. I’ve never been in space. I’ve never been a princess. But I love to read about them. If your written doesn’t enthrall you, it won’t enthrall you’re reader. If a scene bores you, I guarantee it will bore your reader.

Q: Your world building in the Dothan Chronicles is full of wonderful details. What inspired the creation of this world and its very human characters?
Charissa: I have a horrible confession to make. The Dothan Chronicles originally came from reading a book and not liking how a plot line turned out. So I rewrote it. Then I threw my rewrite away and started over. And then I threw that one away and started over again. Eventually I got to what is published. To be honest, there is not a lot left from that original inspiration of someone else’s book. Technically speaking the original spark came from someone else’s work, but what isn’t? 

What book isn’t the result of a writer looking at a painting or watching a movie and having the “light bulb” moment? I won’t say what book I was reading when mine came. That is my secret, and I will take it to my grave.

Q: Although I don't like vampire stories, I'm intrigued by the genesis of your "Series That Just Plain Sucks." Did you set it in Olympia, Washington for a specific reason, or because you grew up there? I've visited once, and it's a beautiful place. 
Charissa: I set it there for a few reasons. One was for the very practical reason in that I went to high school there and therefore knew it intimately. It made it very easy to describe the environment and culture of the Pacific Northwest. 

Another reason is that the series was originally created to make fun of Twilight. It stemmed from a conversation with my husband in which we asked the question “What if Stephanie Meyer got turned into a vampire and discovered they don’t actually sparkle?” For that reason, I wanted to set in near Forks, but in a place that I could describe accurately, unlike her. 

For the final reason, I wanted to put it in a place that was logical for vampires to reside. I will hand it to Meyer, as bad as her books are, vampires in the PNW makes sense. There isn’t a lot of sunlight there and the days do tend to be short.

Q: I see you're a film and play actor. Is that you as Sylvia in the movie "Debt Man"? Do you think your acting experience helps in writing dialogue for your own characters? 
Charissa as "Sylvia" in the 2014 movie "Debt Man"
Charissa: In some ways, my acting experience is a detriment. It results in me directing my characters in my head, and makes me want my readers to see the scene exactly as I see it. As a result I pour in descriptions, trying to explain things that don’t need to be explained. Thankfully I have an editor that pulls me back and takes phrases out. What would I do without her!

Q: What would you like readers to know about your new Void series?
Charissa: My Void Series is such a fun romp through the Urban Fantasy genre. It centers on Sam Gollet, a half-fae Void. She has no powers of her own and is only able to take from the other mystical creatures around her. In this world, set in the near future, all mystical creatures—fae, vampires, werewolves, and mages—are known to mankind and reside inside Reservations under the control of the humans. Being the only Void in her Reservation, Sam is feared by all her fellow inmates. 

In her debut story, Sam must travers the murky waters of her home while being called upon to solve the disappearance of a fellow fae.

Book two of this series is set to release January of 2016

Q: What else do you have for us in the pipeline? 

Charissa: I am proud to announce the release of my very first Sci-Fi novella, Trust and Treachery, Book 1 of the Echoes of Sol series coming December 1, 2015.

Larissa Earnest, or Bit to her friends, is an indentured servant in a world where space travel is just becoming the norm.

Calen Macleef is a pilot of his family’s space freighter, travel the universe between the freshly terraformed planets and mining asteroids. 

In a lucky hand of poker, Calen accidently wins himself a person. What will his brother, the captain, say when he brings a pretty young woman aboard the freighter full of merchant marines?
* * *
Find Charissa's books on Amazon.
Check out her author web page
Follow her on Twitter.
Because you can't have too many cute cat pictures

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: Time for the Lost by Chess Desalls

TFTL Cover Reveal 
Calla's disappearance leads her family and friends to suspect that she’s lost. In a desperate attempt to find her, Valcas seeks help from a man he betrayed. A new search begins, one that sounds promising, even if it forces Valcas to confront his past. The travel team reunites for a mission they never saw coming: a journey to a world caught between life and death, and hidden within the deepest recesses of time. Ivory rediscovers a friend and Ray learns the meaning behind his tattoo. But the connections they make between travelers and the lost may twist the core of the Time and Space Travel Agency inside out. Time for the Lost is the third installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series. Catch up with Calla and Valcas' adventure before the third book releases in February 2016!
About the Author
Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She's a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her non-fiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.
Connect with Chess on:
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I "met" Chess on Twitter, and immediately connected with her because she's a fellow flutist! Now we're both members of Clean Indie Reads, which is the best writer's group ever!

I've read the first two books in this fast-paced, mind-bending time travel series and highly recommend them. You have time to read both before book 3 comes out....

Friday, November 6, 2015

Writer's Life Blog Challenge

Me being silly at the San Antonio Zoo

Oh, boy! A blog challenge! I was tagged by one of my favorite authors, Shari L. Tapscott at her blog for the Writer’s Life Challenge. This sounds like fun (*rolling up sleeves*)….

Write Fuel: What do you eat/drink while writing?

Since I had to give up coffee, I usually drink iced tea or water while writing. And since it takes two hands to type, I don't eat while writing, but I do have to get out of the chair at least once every hour or my back will remind me I've been sitting too long. Then I might grab a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit.

Write Sounds: What do you listen to while writing?

Since I'm a professional musician, I can't actually listen to music WHILE I'm writing or I stop paying attention to the words and start analyzing the melodic line, chord structure, etc. But I do warm up for a scene or to hear a character's voice by listening to instrumental Baroque, Classical, or Celtic music while doing mindless chores.

Write Vice: What’s your most debilitating distraction?

Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. When I'm doing serious writing, I have to NOT check those sites until AFTER I've finished what I'm working on, or it won't get done that day!

Write Horror: What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you while writing?

I have lost small parts of larger projects because I didn't think I needed to save it, or thought I'd already saved what I was working on, but they actually turned out to be blessings in disguise, because the rewrite was even better. My "horrors" have all come during marketing and promotion, but they also turned out for the best, because I learned new ways of NOT doing things….
Me giving a presentation at a local school.
 Write Joy: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened while writing or how do you celebrate small victories?

The most joy I've had while writing involved a pivotal chapter in a recent book. I spent a lot of time researching jousting, even attending two different ones, and then I figured out each knight who was participating, designed his heraldry, color of his horse, all the possible details I might use. And then I just "observed" and wrote down what I saw. I had no idea who was going to win, and it was a totally delightful surprise. (Although I soon learned that it mattered a great deal to the plot, because it set in motion events that led to the climax.) That's serendipity!

Write Crew: Who do you communicate with or not communicate with while writing?

I don't talk about plot or ideas before I write, because I learned the hard way that it takes away the urgency to tell the story. After everything is written, I read it out loud to my husband, and also share with my critique partners, with whom I have a working relationship spanning decades.

Write Secret: What’s your writing secret to success or hidden flaw?

After thirty years of writing, I'm still trying to figure it out. I have learned not to wait for "inspiration" but to make a habit out of writing. I have always done my best first drafts writing by hand in a spiral. I know that's not the most efficient way, but it works for me. I'm a very fast typist (140 wpm) so while I'm typing from the handwritten notes, I can do my first round of editing at the same time.

My flaw, which is probably not so hidden, is second-guessing myself. I tend to listen to that little editor on my shoulder (the one with devil horns and pitchfork) who whispers, "What makes you think you can write?" I have to mentally flick her off before I can get any writing done.

Write-spiration: What always makes you productive?

It may come from my earliest years of writing, when I did a lot of work for magazines, but I can focus better and be more productive when I have a deadline looming.

Write Peeve: What’s one thing writers do (or you do) that’s annoying?

I can honestly say there is only one thing that "peeves" me: When wannabe writers want to know how to get an agent and how much money they'll make before they've even written a single piece. I always want to say, "Write a million words first, and then you might be ready to talk about those things."

Write Words- Share one sentence from a project. Past or present.
Here’s the first line from my current WIP, Mercy's Children, Book 3 of my fantasy series He Who Finds Mercy:
Inside a spartan wooden hall decorated with rows of skulls, Liall Guinness, the former Lord of Moor Point, stood glaring at yet another Vandal chieftain.

These were fun questions! Thank you, Shari, for tagging me. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do. Shari's Eldentimber series is fabulous!

Now, I’m going to pass the challenge along to Bokerah Brumley at her lovely blog, Joyful Peacock. She's so sweet about featuring other authors, it's her turn to tell us about herself. Can’t wait to read your answers, Bokerah!